At least one in four deaths around the world last year was in Nigeria, according to the latest global Malaria Report.
Some 29 of every 100 cases of malaria world over was in Nigeria, down from 42 in 2014, the report said, a marked reduction in as little as two years.
Speaking in Abuja at the dissemination of ACTwatch, the latest survey of artemisinin combination therapies (ACT) through outlets around the country, coordinator of the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), Dr. Audu Bala Mohammed, said, "Although by these achievements, we are yet to reach the national target, I believe that the country is on the right track to achieve malaria pre-elimination by 2020," he noted.
More than 100 million bouts of malaria occur in Nigeria, causing 300,000 deaths a year—nearly 100,000 more than deaths from HIV/AIDS.
In 2014, malaria was a risk for every nine among 10 Nigerians, and accounted for 11% of all deaths among women.
But nearly 37% of pregnant women now access preventive treatment for malaria as at 2015, up from 15% in 2013, said Mohammed.
He noted that ACTwatch outlet surveys every two years since 2009 have helped Nigeria monitor malaria diagnosis and treatment in both public and private sectors.
Data from the surveys helped gather evidence for a policy shift that now extends malaria testing to drug shops since 2014.
Bright Ekweremadu, managing director of Society for Family Health, which assisted on the survey, said ACTs had been impactful in reducing malaria prevalence, but warned the parasite may begin developing immunity if ACTs are not properly used.
He said the information gathered in the 2015 survey will guide the government and stakeholders on how to implement the National Malaria Strategic Plan.
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